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CONSENT, CONVERSION, AND MORAL FORMATION: Stoic Elements in Jonathan Edwards's Ethics

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ABSTRACT

The contemporary revival of virtue ethics has focused primarily on retrieving central moral commitments of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and the Neoplatonist traditions. Christian virtue ethicists would do well to expand this retrieval further to include the writings of the Roman Stoics. This essay argues that the ethics of Jonathan Edwards exemplifies major Stoic themes and explores three noteworthy points of intersection between Stoic ethics and Edwards's thought: a conception of virtue as consent to a benevolent providence, the identification of virtue as a singular and transformative good, and an account of moral formation as simultaneously self‐directed and received. Common ground between Edwards and the Stoics illustrates the value of recognizing Stoic moral thought as a philosophical framework that can enhance and undergird Christian ethicists' understandings of moral development and the nature of virtue.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Theology, Duquesne University

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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